Here's an example of a basic rebind job. What I mean by that is that the only work being done to the original book is replacing the covers and endpapers (please see the next blog entry on the "full rebind job"). The books in question were the 2 volume set "Democracy in America" by Alexis De Tocqueville from 1864.
As you can see, the covers have seen better days. The text block, on the other hand, was still in fine condition. The paper used was rag based mold paper which a 150 years later still felt like new! The sewing was all intact and tight also. After removing the covers I then also removed the aging super and all previous glue on the spine (the old animal hide glue had basically become a powder which mostly just fell off). After applying a fresh layer of PVA glue and a new super (Airplane linen, natch) I then attached the new covers. The original boards were covered in a cheap bookcloth that had been heavily waxed. At the client's request the new one's would replace the cloth with leather. As a finishing touch I recreated the original labels in Photoshop.
Wait, did I say the labels were the finishing touch? I spoke too soon. The real finishing touch was a matching leather slipcase with label and pull ribbon.
And for those that are too lazy to scroll back to the beginning of this entry, here's a before and after shot...